Honda vs. Toyota: Which Automaker Has the Best New Cars of 2021?

Article Highlights:

  • Cutting through the brand marketing to find out who does it best
  • Toyota gets ranked above Honda for reliability
  • Honda’s Civic has something for everyone

Brands, in general, spend real money to develop what is referred to as “brand loyalty.” Debates like Playstation vs. Xbox and Apple vs. Android come to mind. Automakers like Honda do this too. So does Toyota. Now, it’s time to cut through that marketing budget to find out which brand does it best.

Honda makes some of the best new cars

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We’ll start with Honda. The brand wants you to think they make some of the best new cars out there. In part, that’s true. The Japanese brand has spent decades creating a reputation centered around reliability, affordability and performance. Those three principles outline what’s arguably the peak of the brand’s lineup: the Honda Civic. The small sedan has been the darling of Honda’s lineup for some time, and for good reason.

Cars like the new Civic Type R and Si show off the brand’s performance chops, while base Honda Civic models are nearly perfect everyday cars. A number of the things that make the Civic so great are also apparent in the Honda Accord, another successful sedan model in Honda’s quiver. Both cars regularly compete with Toyota models, and like Toyota, offer staggering variety.

Toyota offers staggering variety in their lineup

That said, as far as some of the best new cars go, it’s hard to beat the Toyota Camry for variety. There’s two transmissions, three powerplants, and nine trim levels with both front and all-wheel drive. That, unfortunately, is something the Civic can’t say. However, the brand recently discontinued its Accord-fighting Toyota Avalon, leaving the full-size segment to Honda.

Toyota has its bases covered on performance too. While controversial, the new Supra is a legit performer. And the GR86? It’s one of the best small sports cars you can buy right now. You could easily argue that Toyota rivals Honda’s reputation for reliability as well. In short, these two brands are almost too close to call.

The best automaker depends on you

A Toyota logo displayed on a signpost outside a dealership
The Toyota logo | Jakub Porzycki via Getty Images

So, we find ourselves in need of a tie-breaker. Thankfully, Consumer Reports has our tie-breaker in hand. They ranked Toyota above Honda, at least as far as reliability goes. On a scale out of 100, Toyota was ranked 71 to Honda’s 66. So, if reliability is the name of the game, Toyota is the horse to back. However, the rest is up to you.

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